January to March In Scope, Part 1
This is my tenth blog on N4G and I figure what better way to celebrate than to take a look back from the first few months of 2013 and all that the video game industry and beyond has brought us. It certainly has been an eventful three months, so I have chosen a variety of moments that seemed to shake up the industry or were just memorable for myself. It will be the good, the bad, and the ugly being seen here; however, with the sheer amount of content that I'm working with, I have to split this into two parts (March being part 2) and keep in mind that this will be an extensive post. So join me as we look back at the ups and downs of the first three months.
First up is January. Now, while this month wasn't particularly massive in headlines and news, there were a few notable events and instances that caught my eye. Most of it revolves around primary business for a couple core companies, while the rest is of two games that made huge impacts in the industry.
DmC: Devil May Cry and the Metacritic Fiasco
After the outcry against the new look and team behind the reboot of Devil May Cry, DmC: Devil May Cry released to many reviewers praising the game left and right. Now, while I personally find it to be average as opposed to the above average to perfect review scores I have seen, there is the ever negative presence of trolls. The trolls I am referring to at the moment are those that flood Metacritic.
It was from my last blog that I mentioned about the capability of reviewers. In the case of Metacritic, I emphasized that they should follow the same model that N4G does and approve of reviews before the public sees them. As a result, you have more level-headed and competent writers giving well written and thorough reviews of recently released games. The problem that I saw was that Metacritic is a source for trolls to degrade a game for their blind hatred. As a result, many people do not consider them a legitimate site for information. The bottom line to DmC is this: it is a good hack-and-slash game, but will not appeal to everyone. Trolls should stay in their caves, while the adults handle the written work.
Ni No Kuni Meets Amazing Praise
An ambitious title from Level 5 and Studio Ghibli ported to the Playstation 3, Ni No Kuni met with critical and commercial success. Even beating out DmC: Devil May Cry in sales, this game is quickly becoming one of the must haves of 2013. Getting my hands on it for a little while yielded many hours of fun and nostalgia. This game truly marks the fantastic elements of classic Japanese RPGs and a wonderful story. I am yet to finish Ni No Kuni, but I am very excited for when I do get to play it again.
It is with this game that reinforces my faith in gamers everywhere. This is especially true of gamers in North America. The reason for why I say that is because of the gaming norms that seem to have been current in this region for quite a few years. Needless to say that that made me sad. There are so many games that have come out lately that don't get recognition because of yearly sports titles and military first person shooters. The last few years have flowed with creative ambition and the warm reception these games are getting give light to more projects that want to do something different. Ni No Kuni is for sure a Game of the Year contender in my book.
Capcom Shoots Itself in the Foot...Again
Oh, Capcom. You just can't resist getting into trouble can you? In the case of DmC: Devil May Cry, Capcom's questionable business practices rear their ugly heads once again. Among the DLC content Capcom released includes a costumes pack and a weapons skin pack. Given that the game only lasts at most seven hours, the Bloody Palace and Vergil's Downfall DLC seem tempting to add more to the game. My general impressions of these DLC packs are that since Capcom always goes with pointless skins I would rather get more playable content.
Also, even though DmC: Devil May Cry did well with many people, according to Capcom it could have done better. Apparently, Capcom was hoping that DmC: Devil May Cry would sell one million copies from the get-go. Up until that point, the game had met half of its sales goal. The unrealistic expectations that Capcom has of its games will only hinder their future in the long run.
THQ Divvies Up Their Intellectual Properties
Once a major player in the video game industry, now THQ has gone on to file bankruptcy and sell many of their intellectual properties and locations. Among such items include Volition and Saints Row being bought by Deep Silver (we all see how that's going), THQ Montreal and South Park: The Stick of Truth being bought by Ubisoft, Homefront being purchased by Crytek, Relic Entertainment and Company of Heroes being bought by Sega, Metro being bought by Koch Media, and Evolve being bought by Take-Two Interactive. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see where these companies will take these studios and game franchises.
Probably the one title I was most disappointed about hearing getting a delay was South Park: The Stick of Truth. I have been waiting for this game since its announcement. Now sighs of what could have been resonate from whenever I watch the trailers. I can only hope that Ubisoft will release the game this year. And someone please save Darksiders! It's a good series! And pick up Vigil so those good folks can finish it!
Moving on to February, we have probably some of the most frustrating and rage inducing news I have seen. Even though you might have your special day with your sweetheart, if you're a gamer, you were probably smiting something going on at the time. In the case of real life problems and games, they both met at a crossroads, while one company got hammered hard for their insolence.
Dead Space 3 Falls Flat
Go figure that Electronic Arts is in the running for Worst Company in America yet again. It's not so much that it's just their consumers getting screwed over, but also their own employees and games getting screwed over. Dead Space 3 may have received above average scores here and there, but the general consensus about it is that Dead Space 3 is nothing compared to its previous installments. This is especially true of the questionable elements that are in the game.
Microtransactions where you can simply buy materials for weapons or weapons themselves to get an edge in the game early on, a two weapon limit, a more action focused schematic, and cooperative play are the main complaints many consumers have of this game. Granted, every single one of these complaints are justified. As a fan of the Dead Space franchise, I can honestly say that this third installment is incredibly disappointing. It's even more so perplexing that the Dead Space developer Visceral Games are taking the hits for EA with all of the complaints. With the damning activities of EA, I would say they earn every vote they get for being the worst of the worst.
Rayman Legends Gets Pushed Back
It's no surprise that the Wii U could use a good boost in sales this early on in the year. Any system needs a good exclusive game to make sales. Imagine the reaction Nintendo must have had when Ubisoft postponed the release of the then Wii U exclusive Rayman Legends. Now the game is both going multiplatform and won't be released until late September with PS3 and Xbox 360 releases.
Needless to say, fans were not happy. Those who have the game on reserve were met with, "Sorry, but Rayman Legends was pushed back". This further infuriated gamers and reviewers alike when the Wii U version has been revealed to have been completed. To quell the anger, Ubisoft said that Wii U owners will get an exclusive demo, but this only angered people even more. Even members of the development team expressed disappointment for the delay. So, my question is, "Ubisoft, are you guys this stupid?" I know you have been bringing out good quality games recently, but this was a pretty stupid move. I played the demo of it in Best Buy and it was solid. I totally would have bought that day one. Why push it back?
Gearbox and Their Biggest 'F' Up
Do you sense that? Do you sense the resentment that Gearbox has built up recently? Well, they really only brought it on themselves. After all, we were all expecting a fantastic Aliens game. What with the strong story, interesting characters, and incredible xenomorph AI that were talked about before. Also, this was apparently approved by FOX as a sequel after Aliens. They even had Lance Henrickson come on board. How cool is that?
Not very cool given that the game performed about as well as a clown car that can only fit two people and ride like a locomotive that's top speed is that of a snail. With the constant back and forth of who should take the blame, every gamer knows that the real culprit behind the total mess that was Aliens: Colonial Marines is Gearbox. They were the ones who were supposed to develop the game. They were the ones who were hyping this game up. Even though they claim that they are "committed" to the game I have to question of where this commitment was in the development stages? This was a huge blunder next to Duke Nukem Forever. Gearbox should take notes and learn from this. Just because you have the ability to make a game based on an already established franchise does not mean that you can throw caution to the wind and let other people handle it expecting that you have guaranteed gold.
Politicians vs Gamers: The Finger Pointing on Violence
As we all know, our beloved hobby has come under fire by many who claim that video games are the source of violence in the United States. Had you read my blog Under the Knife: Video Games, the Popular Political Scapegoat, you would know that I resent the very idea that any piece of pop culture can cause violence. The escalation of shootings that we have seen at educational institutions is nothing short of disturbing, but at the same time damaging. It's damaging to the video game community in a large capacity. The misinformed and uneducated would have you believe that video games lead people to violent acts, yet there are no studies anywhere that prove this either in the United States or abroad.
I have recently watched a video by Youtube contributor TotalHalibut (a.k.a. TotalBiscuit) called Tragedy and Video Game Violence. In the video, he defends the video game industry from those who cry foul on it for "influencing" people into violence and offers up a case that the only reason we have this problem with politicians and anyone who are like-minded is because of the media's portrayal of the culprits responsible for the deaths of civilians. He stresses that it is not just American media that does this, but media in the United Kingdom as well. The media glorifies the violence of the act and make the shooters "anti-heroes" by literally supporting the facts with "sirens blaring", the "body count", "24/7 coverage", and "make the killer some kind of anti-hero".
Meanwhile, much like article writers who purposely lure people in with flamebait articles, they sit back and relish in the hits they get from the gullible and misguided of our population. With that kind of access to so many homes, the media ends up giving the gunman infamy and in turn lead to other disturbed individuals causing more senseless violence and leading them to become a "horrible cultural icon". Video games are not the problem in violence, the media is. I will end this with a quote from the video that I highly encourage you guys to watch, "Why was the focus not on exactly what was wrong with the killer in question? What obvious mental illness this guy actually had? Why was the focus not on concerns for the failing mental health system? The gunman's ready access to firearms or, in fact, perhaps more importantly than anything else rising above all of the debate and politicization of these kinds of issues: the actual victims?"
I hope you guys enjoyed my impressions of some of the major stories and topics that have occurred from January and February. You can expect more soon when I look at the very busy month of March. I can't wait to get into those hot topics what with the coverage I saw. Until then, this is HonestDragon saying farewell for now.